How To Think About Money by Jonathan Clements

From Here to Financial Happiness

THE WORLD DOESN'T NEED another book that explains investing, home buying, estate planning, insurance and other personal finance issues. Instead, what it needs is a book takes these issues, gauges the implications for each individual reader, helps readers settle on a plan—and then gets them to act. From Here to Financial Happiness is that book. It'll take you on a 77-day journey that tackles your entire financial life, helping you to figure out where you stand, what you hope to achieve and what you need to do. Somedays, the book offers a brief financial lesson. Somedays, you learn about yourself. And somedays, you will need to take a few simple steps. Most day’s reading and activity should devour no more than five or 10 minutes.

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How To Think About Money by Jonathan Clements

How to Think About Money

THERE ARE THOSE WHO THINK the goal is to beat the market and amass as much wealth as possible, that street smarts and hard work ensure investment success, and that the road to happiness is paved with more of everything. And then there are those who get it. Want a more prosperous, less stressful financial life? How to Think About Money is here to help. The book is available as a $13.99 paperback, $9.99 Kindle edition and $9.99 Nook edition. The book’s goal: to provide readers with a coherent way to think about their finances, so they worry less about money, make smarter financial choices and squeeze more happiness out of the dollars that they have.

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Jonathan Clements Books

SINCE THE EARLY 1990s, Jonathan has written a novel and seven personal finance books—or eight, if you count the two editions of the Jonathan Clements Money Guide. All can be found on Amazon.

His latest book, From Here to Financial Happiness, was published in September 2018. What’s it all about? The book offers readers a 77-day plan for getting their finances in shape. Some days, From Here to Financial Happiness delivers a brief financial lesson. Some days, readers learn about themselves. And some days, the book suggests a few simple steps for readers to take.

What about earlier books? How to Think About Money was published in September 2016 in the U.S. and, as of October 2018, will be available outside the U.S. and Canada as a revised international edition. It was named 2017’s adult book of the year by the Institute for Financial Literacy. One reviewer described it as “the best financial book I’ve read in the last five years. If I had written a book as good as this one, I would consider my life’s work complete.”

In early 2016, Jonathan put out the second annual edition of the Jonathan Clements Money Guide. The Money Guide was named money-management book of the year by the Institute for Financial Literacy and won a silver medal in the Axiom Business Book Awards. For 2017, the book’s content was moved to this site, so it could be updated more frequently and more easily. The hope: By making the material available at no charge (albeit with a few pesky ads floating around), it’ll garner a larger readership.

Jonathan’s novel, 48 and Counting (2012), was something of a departure from the financial topics that have consumed him as a journalist, though regular readers will detect themes that have cropped up in his nonfiction writing. As the subtitle suggests, the book is A Story of Money, Love and Bicycling. It traces amateur cyclist Max Whitfield (whose character, in case you’re wondering, is not modeled after your favorite personal-finance columnist) through three eventful seasons as his marriage collapses and he loses control of his business. Unemployed and unsure what to do next, he throws himself into training for a 40-mile bicycle race. 

The Little Book of Main Street Money (2009) was a way to pull together various ideas Jonathan had championed during his first stint as a Wall Street Journal columnist. Subtitled 21 Simple Truths that Help Real People Make Real Money, the book was named one of SmartMoney’s 10 best financial books of 2009 and includes a foreword by William Bernstein.

You’ve Lost It, Now What? How to Beat the Bear Market and Still Retire on Time (2003) was written in just three-and-a-half months in late 2002, at the depth of the 2000-02 bear market. After more than two years of falling share prices, investors loathed stocks with a passion. But the book argued it was time to buy, not sell. Anyone who read the book and followed its suggestions would have earned handsome returns in the years that followed. Unfortunately, not many read it. You’ve Lost It, Now What? appeared just as the U.S. began its military operation in Iraq. Not surprisingly, folks were a little more interested in the war than their portfolios. The book surged to No. 32 on the Amazon bestseller list and then entered its own personal bear market.

Jonathan’s bestselling book was 25 Myths You’ve Got to AvoidIf You Want to Manage Your Money Right: The New Rules for Financial Success (1998). It’s available in both hardback and paperback, and editions were published in Brazil, China and Taiwan. A caveat: Chapters 23 and 24, which are devoted to investing in a child’s name and to individual retirement accounts, and now out of date, because the tax rules have changed so much in the years since.

Funding Your Future: The Only Guide to Mutual Funds You’ll Ever Need (1993) reflected the years that Jonathan had spent writing about funds, first for Forbes magazine and then for The Wall Street Journal. The book suggests stashing 30% to 50% of a stock portfolio in market-tracking index funds, with the rest allocated to actively managed funds. Today, Jonathan isn’t nearly so enthused about actively managed funds, and would favor putting most or all of a portfolio into index funds.

Jonathan also had a hand in six other books. He edited a series of essays entitled Stock Answers: A Guide to the International Equities Market (1988), which was a topic he covered while working at Euromoney magazine in London. The book got the small readership it deserved. In addition, he contributed chapters to The Wall Street Journal Lifetime Guide to Money (1997), The Best Investment Writing (2017), Harriman’s New Book of Investing Rules (2017), The Best Investment Writing Volume 2 (2018) and The Path: Accelerating Your Journey to Financial Freedom (2020).

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